tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC December 22, 2017 5:00pm-6:00pm PST
spirit. of course i'm helped. thanks,ain, thanks a ton. and that is hard ball for now. thanks for being with us. for everyone here at "hardball" have a very merry christmas. "all in" with chris hayes starts right now. tonight on "all in." >> you are fake news. >> the immediate yaum demonized. >> what they are doing is the fake news. >> the public lied to. >> this was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period. >> it was also the year of free press rose to the challenge. >> just posted by the washington post, they've got 30 sources. >> the stories that changed a presidency. >> breaking news, health secretary tom price is out. >> and the recentless reporting it took to break them. the uncovered secrets that sparked a reckoning. >> allegations of sexual misconduct spanning decades. >> 2017, the battle over truth
itself. >> why should americans trust you when you are providing information. >> i was given that information. >> when "all in" starts right now. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. at the very start of the trump administration on day one, sean spicer made clear what posture the white house would take toward the press. >> this was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period. both in person and around the globe. these attempts to lessen then enthusiasm of the inauguration are shameful and wrong. >> that moment, that remarkable moment in which a representative of the president, the press secretary himself yelled false statements that everyone knew to be lies set the tone for this white house. the president who has vilified journalists decried unflattering stories as fake news and lied over and over again but the trump administration repeated attacks on the rights of american citizens to know the truth about their government did not have its intended affect.
t press was not cowed. it was invigorated. throughout this hour we'll talk to the journalists that brought about the most remarkable years of reporting in memory, covering one of the most hostile administrations in american history. we begin with michael schmidt, correspondent fran chessa chambers. let me start with you. i see you almost every day in that briefing room, first with schaub spicer and now with sarah huckabee standers. what is that dynamic like. it seems different than previous briefing rooms. what is it like. >> the sharp shift here in the briefing room behind the scenes in this white house is that previously you would all count on the associated press to be called into the briefing room and you could count on there being a policy question and sort of news of the day first and that is something this administration has done away with. and so that is why you'll see them going to other outlets across the room and you never know if you are going to be the first one to get called on. so have to you be very, very
prepared in this administration. because what if they come to you and it is your day, you got the top question and every network in america cameras are rolling. >> michael, one of the things that -- when i was in washington, there would be certain kinds of information that would be released by a white house that even though you are sort of -- trained as a journalist, they wouldn't say the president is going to be here at this time or going golfing and not going golfing and i feel like with this administration, the basic logistical information just isn't accurate. >> yeah. i think that is a fair thing to say. there is a lot of basic things -- white house logs, people that are coming in to see the president, things like that. stuff that is on his schedule. under obama you would get a read out of every person he played golf with, who his golf partners were. we've never seen that with trump. and that is sort of a good example of how that is a little
different. this is a white house that has really tried hard to make it more difficult to find out things like that. and it sort of has set the tone for the rest of the relationship with the press. >> and yet there is an irony which is that at one level they've been less transparent like the white house visitor logs or who the president played golf with or if he is playing golf, which they insist that he isn't when we could see him in social media taking on the golf course. they just talk a lot. this white house leaks and talks more to reporters than any white house i've ever seen. would you say that is true. >> in some ways they are not transparent but in other ways they are. the press is telling you what he is thinking and he will walk out before getting on the helicopter and he will stop and talk to the press. and it seems like we get more of that than in previous administrations. and it seems like the president will tell you what he's thinking. it may be sometimes
hard to understand or deconstruction but he seems willing to do that. and it is a very accessible white house. people do talk a lot and it doesn't seem like there are incredible consequences for people that talk too much. had tl had been a push to find the leakers and out the leakers but this continues to be a leaky and accessible white house. >> do you find francesca, for all of the bester, people talk. >> that is how we get the stories done. so i don't know how many reporters are encouraging the white house to stop talking. and the president himself is guesting on twitter every single morning and i think that is another big change. president barack obama was not speaking as they've said directly to the american people that way. which has been both i think a blessing and a curse for this white house because the president is able to get his message out there unfiltered but we've seen some of the tweets have managed to generate news. i know it seems forever ago
remember he said barack obama had wiretapped him and in trump tower and that generated news cycle after news cycle and re -- derailed from the administration priorities and they are also talking and also on television. in the previous administration you didn't see the chief of staff or even the national security adviser on television as much as we are seeing now. so also getting direct information from senior white house officials and that form that we did not before. but as you said, of course behind the scenes, they are also talking quite a bit without putting their name on it, even as they accuse the press of making up sources when they say that people send them background or anonymously. >> thank you both. with me a veteran, former cbs evening news anchor dan rather, president of news and guts media and the author of "what unites us on patriotism".
>> and how would you characterize this president's relationship to the press as chaired to other presidents you have covered and watched. >> well first of all, i'm one of those that have said this is unique in the history of american presidency. the closest we've had was presidency of richard nixon and of course during the period of, quote, watergate, widespread criminal conspiracy led by the president himself, president nixon disliked the press and it is fair to say he hated the press and very hostile to the press and he systematically tried to undercut reporters and there is no question about that. however, never in the nixon administration particularly from the opening of his presidency, his first term, was the kind of unrelenting -- i would say unethical -- i'm searching for a word because i want to be careful. from the president himself.
president nixon offered you surrogates like a vice president or quietly had assistants do things with the press. but in terms of president without exception, i don't think there has ever been a president who right from the opening has so unrelentingly and forcefully personally attacked individual reports and present institutions and he has threatened to use the full force and power of the presidency against "the washington post," "the new york times" and others. now when i say president nixon was the closest, i don't think there is very much comparison to be made, two different eras for one thing. but there is that -- but you are right about one thing. sometimes we overstate things. >> but i think -- that is a really interesting distinction. and nixon hated the press. and he was hated and obsessed with the press.
which is another similarity. but he at least publicly and personally sort of tipped his cap toward some basic appreciation of first amendment and the free press in a way this president never does. >> and that is the reason it is unpre unprecedented. president nix never tried to say look this institution is worthless and never used the kind of language of the press -- everybody in the press -- enemies of the people, which has -- which echoed through authoritarian regimes through modern and ancient history. president nixon quite frankly, i don't think he believed that, that all press people -- we haven't seen anything like this. but i will say president trump, by use the full power and prestige of the presidency has undercut press credibility. he's been a complete failure with convincing some people. when he constantly talks about
fake news he knows the value of repeating propaganda and lies. and it needs to be noted and you have noted, giving you credit, chris, that one fountain of fake lies is the president himself, demonstrably provable lies time and time again. but he's made some headway with this and those of us in the press make mistakes. we all do. i've made my share. every time we make a mistake it fuels his ability to convince that all of the press is not worth a damn and i'll quote, enemies of the people. >> and you mention the mistakes and i ask you about this incident that you had under the bush administration in which there was a document and you ran down and reported it and vetted it and was -- quite well i think faked essentially, it appears to have been the case. and it was used in precisely the same way. not just against you, dan rather, but against all of the news in a way that is somewhat parallel to the way this administration will use press
errors to kind of fully discredit the media, i don't want to go over the whole thing because we don't have. >> but let me say, the documents that we used to support the story, we reported a true story. about president bush -- george w. bush -- it was a true story. the process by which we arrived that truth was the only vulnerability we had in the document. the documents to this day have never been proven anything other than authentic. but i agree, that the burden is under price to -- to prove the authenticity. >> and that incident, which again was -- i think the entire thing was conducted in good faith would be my point. so the process was done in good faith. and sometimes in reporting you conduct things in good faith and they turn out to be wrong and there is a good faith and bad faith errors that has been reaced in this -- erased in this administration. >> that is true. but this started a long time before. even before president nixon but
from 1968 forward there has been a whole sense in the body of politics, that the press is vulnerable, that the public could be convinced that the press is not what sets out to be. but i will say, chris, when we talked about these things i think it is very important to know what everyone thinks of the press, if the press is absolutely essential to our system of checks an balances. it is the red beating heart of freedom and democracy and if you don't have the press as a watch dog, you are unlikely to have the kind of government we have. >> dan rather, thanks for being with me. after the break, the president under investigation of relentless reports of the russia probe and the birth of bomb shoal o'clock, that is next.
months before the appointment of special counsel robert mueller to investigate potential collusion between the trump campaign and russia there was a crucial nugget of information in a january 12th column by david ignatius of the washington post. one of the first dominos in the russia story and centered on michael flynn. flynn phoned sergei kislyak several times on december 29th, the day the obama administration announced the expulsion of russia members in retal a yigs for the hacking. flynn pleaded guilty of lying to the fbi about those very contacts. since that initial reporting on flynn, many more have fallen in the russia investigation. at a pace and volume that seems astonishing. and with me now, carol lee, from nbc news, and michaeliza cough
and the david ignatius, and david let me start with you. and that nugget of news is in like seven graphs down and i wonder if when you reported that piece, if you were aware of the significance of what you were reporting. >> it didn't make sense. and it seemed implausible that they had not talked about the very sanctions that were being announced that day. but that was -- that was the claim that was made when they finally responded the next morning after the column appeared. in retrospect it is strange to lots of people, including me -- that it was not written as the lead. but the other thing the column noted and i think it is a still a good question is why did it take president obama so long to respond to the russian meddling in our elections.
that was the other issue i was exploring. and i think it is a still a big one. >> and that one source, so david went with one source and it proved to be accurate and in fact profoundly accurate and led to these things but one anonymous source is dangerous. you are walking a high wire act in this reporting and no one will go on the record about an investigation. that is not going to happen. so you are dealing with anonymous sources and they may have agendas an trying to mislead you. how has it been to report this story. >> very difficult. but look, it is not how many sources you have, it is who the sources are and how they know the information they are imparting to you. and if it is somebody who has direct knowledge, who was involved in a conversation or saw a memo or read-out that spelled it out, that is a lot better than having five sources that could tell you they heard about such a mem o-- memo.
i don't get hung up on the number of sources and the sources that say we've talked to 30 sources inside of the white house that corroborated that, i this is that is much. i don't need to know that you talked to 30 people, just i need to know as best you can, who you were talking to. >> i would say one source is a really big -- i think generally one source is a big risk. unless it is one -- one impeachable source and that is kind of where -- in this sort of reporting. >> but if jack kelly tells you something off the record, who is -- then you got reason to run with that. >> that is considered -- very impeccable source. but the other thing is you have to think about people's agenda. not even how many sources you have or how good your sources are, but what their agenda is. why they are telling you this, what me might have to gain and how they are spinning it and that is a challenge in this story and increasingly becoming a challenge becauser seeing instances where there are people who want to set reporters up to
fail now and that is -- and that is a concern -- i think a year ago we didn't have in the way we do now. >> that seems like an active thing to look out for in reporting the story at this point. there is an obvious desire to discredit everything having to do with the investigation. and one of the things that has happened is the press has in some ways been out ahead of actual investigators. the best example of this -- david, the best example is that trump tower meeting. when that trump tower meeting, when the e-mails are disclosed, one of the biggest breaks in the case, the reporting indicates that mueller didn't -- that was shaken loose by reporters. >> i can't speak to the timing of that disclosure. agree the e-mails referring to the june 9 meeting in trump tower with donald jr. and the russian lawyer were a crucial turn. just to be clear about my
january 12th story, i would not have published that allegation unless i was confident that it was true. >> right. >> and i don't want to talk in detail about sourcing. don't want to talk at all about it. but when i was an editor i would say my reporters would say i have six sources and my response as editor would say i want to know how you know it's true. there is a difference. and i was confident this was true. >> do you think -- what has it been like with the mueller investigation which my sense has been incredibly tight lipped. >> yeah, well for those of us who have covered robert mueller over the years from his days in the justice department and the fbi, he is not a leaker. this is not a guy who feels any need to placate the press or work with the press at all. anything he said to the press is begrudging, he never wanted to do public appearances, or tv
appearances when he was fbi director. he had to be dragged to do it. so i think it is fair -- i think we can assume that most of what has been reported about the mueller investigation is not coming from mueller or people directly reporting to him. but you know, look, there are lots of people who can pick up aspects -- witnesses get interviewed, this tl are -- there are lawyers in contact and lots of ways to gather bits and pieces of the mueller investigation. but we still don't know the thrust of where he is going and what his intentions are. >> i want to talk about precisely that. what we do and don't know at this point right after a break. please stay with us. ♪
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there is a very big difference between making honest mistakes and purpose my fli misleading the american people, something that happens regularly. you can't say -- i'm not done. you cannot say -- you cannot say that it is an honest mistake when your purposely putting out information that you know to be false. >> there have been errors and corrections in reporting on the russia investigation and other stories and those errors have been weaponized and used as fodder for a president who is painting any press as fake news even when the reporter is still accurate. and still with me. and that sort of -- that thsort of back and forth about errors in the russia story and
corrections of which there have been some. a lot of things have born out, for instance david ignatius's column and we know months later michael flynn pleaded to that. how would you character what we know about this story at this point. >> i think we know a sliver of this story at this point. art mueller runs a tight ship. nothing suggests that leaks are coming out of his operation. and if -- if we need any evidence that we know so little, point to the george papadopoulos -- >> that exactly the example. >> because no one knew who he was. >> and everyone was caught by surprise on that. and so i just think our job is to -- when we see facts, we follow the facts and report the facts, we report what we know and say what we don't know. >> but i think that is a useful guide for people that are consuming the news. but it is part -- it is hard to know how much of the picture are we getting in any one moment and
i was -- michael i was listening and a great slate podcast on water aggrava water -- watergate and it is called low burn and it is tracking the ark of the story as it unfurled in realtime. it is not until july of 73 after the break in that they learn of the taping system. the taping system is sitting there for the entirety of the first years of the administration, and it is not a secret there are people who know this and they don't get to it. investigators on the committee don't get it until a year after the break-in and i herd that -- and i heard that and thought there might be a lot we don't know. >> what is striking how much we've learned since a year ago. you go back to early january, i have nothing to do with russia. that was trump's line. and then we learn about the kislyak and flynn conversations, we learn about the trump tower meeting. we learn about papadapoulos and jeff sessions meetings. how much we've learned and how
little we really know. and whether it adds up to what the -- what the core allegation in the dossier that there were real collusion or collaboration or were these just a series of incidents that just happened because things happen. and we don't know. and we know there is a pattern of them -- of the white house trying to minimize and spin and deny, but i have to say, covered many white houses, that is the instinct of reaction of every white house when there is an embarrassing story. >> partial disclosure. but here is one thing -- >> but it doesn't tell us whether the real core allegations here are true or not. >> on the u.s. side. but here is the thing i will say. because i think sometimes we get caught up in the collusion part and this goes to you, david, one thing that is consistent is the people in the national security apparatus alarmed on the russian
side, that is a part of the story that folks who were sort of read into what was going on, read into the hack, read into the intercepted about putin, really alarmed by what the russians were up to. the scope of the effort. the degree to which they desired to penetrate and infiltrate the campaigns. that does not speak to the other side. but it does seem that that -- the reporting has born out by enlarge a real serious effort by the russians to mess with this election. >> i think you're right. we need to remember this began as a counter intelligence investigation looking at a covert action by russia, a potential adversary, seeking to affect our election in 2016. it began as you say with the fbi, cia, other intelligence agencies gathering information that by august and september,
they were presenting to members of congress and member congress who heard about the allegations, heard some of the detail of what was being collected, were so disturbed by this, that adam shift, dianne feinstein were insisting that the president needed to take stronger action. president obama did not do that. he waited until after the election because he was -- i think afraid of even more meddle -- russian involvement. but this did begin as an investigation or the activities of a hostile foreign intelligence service into our political system and it remains that. >> and it is important to always remember because collusion is a huge deal from the perspective of american scandal. the trump administration -- half of this story is what the russians were up to and that is remarkable. thank you. after the break, harvey weinstein and the reckoning.
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there has been to clearer example of this year of journalist's ability to change the world in the on going reporting of sexual misconduct by powerful man. it began with two investigations on hollywood producer harvey weinstein, published by the new yorker and the new york times and in their wake a cascade of stories on harassment and abuse from tv news to politics to music, to major corporation, all based on the dogged work of reporters gabe -- gaining the trust of the sources. and the reporter's work has upended elections and provoking a national reckoning on sexual abuse and harassment in public life. i'm joined by erin car moan who boat the allegations against charlie rose that led to his firing the next day and rebecca trace ser covering the post-weinstein reckoning. >> i think in my career as a
journalist and i was a freelance writer right out of college, 22, 23. i have never seen a clearer example of sort of cause and affect reporting real world ramifications than -- when you start with the first two stories. the one strike of the ball. >> absolutely. i think that the journalism has been driving this in a way that has made it air tiegt-- air tigt least up to a point. in all of the cases where there is terrific reporting, in advance of whatever winds up happening to the accused, we have gotten this incredibly detailed, incredibly well checked in all of the cases that we know about accurate vision of what has unfolded. that has helped then explain what the consequences have been. and i think that has been really -- we have gotten a very clear detailed picture of what workplace life under these conditions and what harassment has felt like and i think that has been invaluable to so many people who didn't realize and
didn't have a clear picture of what this -- meant and how it felt and played out in women's careers. >> i think there is something that reporting can do here that other tools like the criminal justice system or h.r. are unable to do. you're able to weigh all of the different stories and in a way that is publicly accountable. you try to get people to use their names on the record. the thing that was the most affective i think about the harvey weinstein story when i got to ashley judd's name, wow! >> i know her. >> everyone is talking about the open secret. but it is not easy to get people to talk on the record about events that are often very traumatic and so for journalism to be able to say, first of all, we reached out to these people to get comment and here is what they say and it is public and transparent to the extent possible, i think that is why we're talking about sexual harassment in a way that we haven't. because we're suddenly understanding this with a level of narrative detail and that we haven't had before. >> and i also think that you could tell where there has been
the reporting and where there hasn't been, because as this has gone on, there are some cases where some people have been fired or suspended in advance of reports. so for example, garrison keeler was fired preemptively and i believe we only have the sketchiest vision. >> his words on it. >> that is all we have. ryan lizza lost his job at the new yorker. nbc fired matt lauer in advance of the report on what lauer had done. and we could see in the cases some public radio host, leonard lopeate was taken out of the building and i don't know if he was fired, but without any public record of what the allegations against him are. and when a company fires somebody or suspends them, they are in a legal -- they're legally obligated to not reveal all of the terms of why they are doing this. and that has left people with confusion about what is happening, what has been alleged and you could see where there is an absence of the reporting. >> totally great point. >> there is confusion. >> if you ask me right now what
is your feel being leonard lopez, i have a great example buzz i listened to -- because i listened to him for years. i don't know. >> and that tells us the importance of the reporting. >> and one last thing the fact this reckoning has began with people that are recognizable because we've been talking about sexual harassment and sexual assault and not -- at various times in our history but the fact these are people you know and watch on tv and that you have a relationship with and listening to for years, helps us understand how this continues. how it gets covered up because we don't know all of the information, there is confidentiality, you don't know if it is an act of justice or somebody has been railroaded but it helps us understand how we protect people so powerful because we feel a connection to them and that is what is really unique about this moment. >> i agree with that. i think that -- i also think that having captured our interest in part, by being
ashley judd and harvey weinstein and matt lauer and all of these people who are familiar to us, has then begun to do the next part which is open the stories of people that are not familiar, so earlier this week there was this trend endous -- tremendous feature in "the new york times" about the harassment over years -- >> decades -- >> at two ford plants in chicago. that was a really crucial important well done piece of journalism. and i think we wouldn't have been able to get there about people whose names we don't know unless we had began to understand how these -- >> i this morning saw a guy paying for coffee and chatting up the woman behind the counter in a way that i would have thought in the past was harmless, but thanks to this reporting, i was like, hey, buddy, why don't you move it along. i saw this little bit of grimace on her face and i never in a million years would have thought -- the guy is chatting up -- and so i think when you think about starting with harvey
weinstein and ford factory, waitresses, everyone, that is the sort of next place this reporting is moving but it is so good, i have every confidence it will get there. thank you for joining me. next, the remarkable reporting that exposed tom price, and those two journalists and the amazing lengths they went to right after this.
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i think he's a very fine person. i special don't like the optics. i've saved hundreds of million dollars so i don't like the optics of what you just said. i'm not happy. okay. i can tell you. i'm not happy. >> hours after the president told reporters was not happy with tom price, he was out of a job. force fod -- forced to resign after a investigation revealed he had somehow spent over a million dollars in public funds to travel on private and government jets instead of flying commercial a fraction of the cost. price was the first cabinet secretary to be forced out of
the trump administration. a direct result of the work done by two reporters who spent months tracing price's public appearances, cultivating sources inside of hhs and even staking out dulles airport for a glimpse of his private charter. which they finally spotted early one morning in september. those two reporters join me now. raja prad han and dan diamond. i'll start with you, about how the story first started. what was the first tip, how did you first get on this beat? >> sure. well first of all, thanks for having me chris. we first got this tip in may. may of 2017. i was on the phone with a source, just about something unrelated actually and then in passing this person mentioned that price is taking charters apparently routinely for his official duties. even domestic travel in the u.s. and at that point, it was quite early, i would say, in the administration. price had been on the job maybe
three months. and so that is where it sort of started and it eventually snow balled into our first story in september. but of course it took a lot of work between one tip in may and then publication that came about four months later. >> so dan, tell me about that. whats with the process to get from the tip to publication. because obviously at some level, this is all public, the government is spending public money to charter flights, that is things that are public knowledge. it is not classified information. but shaking it loose could be pretty tough. >> it should be public. the distance between proving something that you know is out there and actually having something for publication, that took some time. so we put our heads together and we rattled all of the sources we had, inside hhs and adjacent to it, hoping for some clues as to not just where tom price was going, but how he was getting there, who he was going with and how the bill was being paid. it was possible, though
unlikely, maybe tom price was footing this out of his own pocket which turned out to not be the case. between sources who had knowledge of his travels and ways that we were able to reconstruct what he had done in various trips to nashville, to georgia, to california, that is really what we spent hours behind even getting to the stake out, that is where we spent hours on across the summer, so when it came time to figure out where he was flying from, we already had that coming together as a data base of intelligence that we had built at politico. >> one of the things that happened in this story which e reminds of -- some of the russia story in a different domain and scale, is the kind of drip, drip. and so rather than saying, you caught us, here are the charter flights, i'm go to -- i'm going to pay it back and wrap it up in a neat bow, but there was a series of revelations they didn't come out with the full
information all at once. >> right. app so part of the reason -- and so part of the reason why that happened when we published on september 19th, those five flights that we first wrote about in the span of really less than a week, that was what we knew we could prove at that time. and part of that is we could probably discuss is the airport stakeout that we did at dulles where we saw with our own eyes then secretary price going to philadelphia and back. and so really once the first story published, it didn't shake loose new sources of information that allowed us to keep going with different angles. >> so let me ask you about the dulles stakeout, dan. because the craziest detail of all of the flights is he chartered a flight from philadelphia to washington, d.c. which i never heard of a person -- commercial or not, flying from washington to philadelphia. i've literally never heard of a person doing that. they are two hours away, you
could drive or walk if you have enough time. they are close cities. how did you stake out that flight? >> so it was a team effort and i think dan and i had different advantage points if you will as to how we did. it but in a nut shep, i was in a car and i was driving and dan was on feet and he was able to see charter planes like one land at the terminal at dulles and i was able to drive on a road that went past the private jet terminal area at dulles. >> so dan, he goes there and comes back the same day. so on the return flight you get into a position where you could see him coming off the flight and know that you've got it. >> we had tried it in the morning, chris, to be in position to see the flight departing and we were close but we weren't quite where we needed to be. and that gave us enough impetuous when we came back that afternoon to know we had to do
something different and that is where she got her car and the right position and tracking on my phone and so i was watching with my eyes. it was a very memorable plane. you've shown the picture on your show, the gold belly made it easy to see. >> it is beautiful. >> and flying out. so i saw it coming in. i was radioing or just live talking, talking her through it and then i kind of ran out at the end and got into position overhanging the tarmac. so the two of us had different views but we were able to back each other up and corroborate that we saw the plane going in. she had the best view seeing tom price actually getting off the plane. >> thanks for being here and thanks for your great reporting. >> thank you. up next, from bashing the media on the campaign trail to hiding from them in the white house. why it's been over 300 days since the president held a press conference, next.
turn up your swagger game with one a day men's. ♪ a complete multivitamin with key nutrients plus b vitamins for heart health. your one a day is showing. the white house realized quickly that reporters were willing to call out president trump on his lies right to his face, which is very likely why the president has not held a solo formal news conference in a remarkable 309 days. the president has not sat for an interview with a nonconservative media outlet since he spoke to lester holt in may and opened himself up to charges of obstruction of justice by admitting that he fired james comey while thinking about the russia post. with me now, co-host of "on the media." all politicians shave the truth,
lie sometimes. there's a difference, it seems to me here in this president in the casualness with which the white house generally regards the truth. what do you think? >> casualness and constantness. they have a blatant i would say depraved disregard for the truth and equally for the first amendment. they lie, lie, lie and then attack the press and it's something to behold. >> there's a worry about the sort of creeping authoritarian perspective of this white house, the fake news, the constant undermining of the free press, and then there are others who say this is them just trash talking. which side are you on? >> it is trash talking. i'm trash talking the trump regime because they are a disgrace and they live and breathe lies every day. that is their fuel. it is not as though they're
caught in a fib or overpromise or a misrepresentation. they are all lies all the time and it's not just the president. it is his succession of spokes people. it is his circle. it is his supporters in the congress and most especially it is the right wing media led by fox news which has long since ceased to even have pretensions of actual journalism. it's just a hit team for what we used to call the lunatic fringe. >> one of the things that i think distinguishes this president from previous presidents is this president seems to consume that almost exclusively as the way he gets information about the world. >> so it would appear.
it's not just he's a consumer. he's also a contributor. there seems to be and it's been actually quite well documented a reciprocal effect,. he watches the likes of "fox & friends" and sean hannity and repeats the misinformation and disinformation he gets from t m them. he puffs them up for their audience and it's pretty ugly. it is pure political propaganda, not that the rest of cable news and broadcast news is blameless, but what has become of fox news is genuinely terrifying. >> there was a critique that i think i heard you enunciate about the way that trump was covered, the lack of attention to policy detail and the deference to him as intentional
figure. is the performance better than it was during the campaign? >> it was in many respects. the deference has more or less evaporated and the press's willingness to be his tool and his platform has diminished and now they're confronting him, being the adversarial press that the founders envisioned. i would say the so-called print press, what used to be the print press is doing a spectacular job reporting on the administration and all of its dimensions, not just the russia probe but the dismantling of the structures of government. he came to drain the swamp and right now it's a pool party at caligula's. the cable news has been kind of
typically crappy at it. they're breathless and focused almost entirely on the investigation to the exclusion of the other very real damage that is being done to the democracy. that's not entirely true but i think it's largely true. then of course there's fox in this separate category all together of being just sort of an arch propaganda network. >> there was a long period of time -- to take the watergate analogy. ultimately it persuaded the country. nixon was at 22 or 23% by the time he left. do you think those same conditions hold now? >> i think it's happening. if you look at the popularity polls of the president and his policies, the tax bill for example, we're seeing a gradual erosion in the support for him and the level of trust, but i pay much more attention to the
base, the approximately one-third of the electoral that seems to be for him no matter what he does. >> bob garfield, thanks for being with me. >> thank you, chris. >> that is all in for this evening. we will see you next week. merry christmas and good night. happy friday. thanks for joining us tonight. it's not every cable news show that likes to be live on the friday night before christmas weekend. i figure times like this in our country, no taking any chances, right? anything could happen. it's good to be here. thanks for being here with us. in december 2015, so two years ago, "the wall street journal" published this editorial, kind of a scorching editorial about donald trump and his business history with the mafia. now, trump by then was running for president. primaries hadn't started yet on the republican side but here was